ARRA Research

Geologic Sequestration Site Characterization (GSSC) -

Recovery Act: Geological Characterization of the South Georgia Rift Basin for Source Proximal CO2 Storage

Performer: South Carolina Research Institute

Project No: FE0001965

Program Background and Project Benefits

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies offer the potential for reducing CO2 emissions without adversely influencing energy use or hindering economic growth. Deploying these technologies in commercial-scale applications requires adequate geologic formations capable of (1) storing large volumes of CO2, (2) receiving injected CO2 at efficient and economic rates, and (3) retaining CO2 safely over extended periods. Research efforts are currently focused on conventional and unconventional storage formations within depositional environments such as: deltaic, fluvial, alluvial, strandplain, turbidite, eolian, lacustrine, clastic shelf, carbonate shallow shelf, and reef. Conventional storage types are porous permeable clastic or carbonate rocks that have fluids such as brine, oil, or gas in the natural void spaces of the rocks. Unconventional storage types include unmineable coal, organic shale, and basalt interflow zones1.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) selected 10 projects that received $49 million of DOE funding to characterize promising geologic formations for CO2 storage. The funding was provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which was enacted to create new jobs, spur economic activity, and promote long-term economic growth. This research further advances DOE’s efforts to develop a national assessment of CO2 storage resources in deep geologic formations. These 10 projects are focusing on the regional site characterization of high-potential geologic storage formations. They will assess and develop comprehensive data sets of storage formation characteristics (porosity, permeability, reservoir architecture, cap rock integrity, etc.) to provide insight into the potential for selected geologic reservoirs across the United States to safely and permanently store CO2. An additional $50 million of ARRA funding was provided to augment the work that the existing projects are conducting. This additional funding is allowing these projects to further characterize reservoir geology, identifying additional storage opportunities for industrial CO2 sources. This additional funding is allowing these projects to drill additional and/or deeper wells, collect significantly better log and core data to populate models, collect additional geophysical data, and integrate additional data and conduct more extensive reservoir models.

The overall effort will provide greater insight into the potential for geologic formations across the United States to safely and permanently store CO2. The information gained from this endeavor will further DOE efforts to refine a national assessment of CO2 storage capacity in deep geologic formations.

Specifically, this project will contribute to the understanding of injectivity, containment mechanisms, rate of dissolution and mineralization, and storage capacity of the on-shore portion of the SGR Basin. If carbon storage proves to be feasible within the SGR, this project could create long-term employment opportunities.


The primary objective of the DOE’s Carbon Storage Program is to develop technologies to safely and permanently store CO2 and reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions without adversely affecting energy use or hindering economic growth. The Programmatic goals of Carbon Storage research are: (1) estimating CO2 storage capacity in geologic formations; (2) demonstrating that 99 percent of injected CO2 remains in the injection zone(s); (3) improving efficiency of storage operations; and (4) developing Best Practices Manuals (BPMs).

The primary objective of this project is to evaluate the feasibility of storing CO2 in the Jurassic and Triassic strata of the buried SGR basin. A primary objective of this study is to use new seismic data combined with the characterization well data to determine if the potential trapping reservoirs are structurally competent enough to prevent injected supercritical CO2 from potentially migrating upward into the Coastal Plain aquifers. Additionally, the project team seeks to provide a detailed CO2 storage resource estimate from the Jurassic and Triassic strata found within the basin.

1DOE NETL 2010 - Geologic Storage Formation Classification: Understanding Its Importance and Impacts on CCS Opportunities in the United States, /technologies/carbon_seq/refshelf/BPM_GeologicStorageClassification.pdf.

Project Details